Three Years with the Rat

Three Years with the Rat

A young man's quest to find his missing sister will catapult him into a dangerous labyrinth of secrets in this provocative, genre-bending, and page-turning debut.After several years of drifting between school and go-nowhere jobs, a young man is drawn back into the big city of his youth. The magnet is his beloved older sister, Grace: always smart and charismatic even when s...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Three Years with the Rat
Author:Jay Hosking
Rating:
ISBN:067006937X
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:288 pages

Three Years with the Rat Reviews

  • Lauren Davis
    Aug 15, 2016

    Scientist writes book about temporal conundrums and existential meaning. Heady, trippy stuff. I found it somewhat pretentious, with a number of unfortunate sentences, a strangely sidelined central quest, an unmanageable climactic reveal, and an overall tonal drabness. Rats. I generally love these sorts of books, and I do give Hosking credit for taking on such an ambitious project, but perhaps it's too early in his career to do so. He has an MFA in Creative Writing, as well as various other degre

    Scientist writes book about temporal conundrums and existential meaning. Heady, trippy stuff. I found it somewhat pretentious, with a number of unfortunate sentences, a strangely sidelined central quest, an unmanageable climactic reveal, and an overall tonal drabness. Rats. I generally love these sorts of books, and I do give Hosking credit for taking on such an ambitious project, but perhaps it's too early in his career to do so. He has an MFA in Creative Writing, as well as various other degrees such as Ph.D. in neuroscience, and he’s currently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard doing research on cognitive decision-making and the human brain. Can't deny he's a smarty pants! Maybe that's why there's so much posturing intellect in this work, but little heart. If he writes another book, I hope he'll relax a little and not try so darn hard to be brilliant. The strain shows and this reader found it stressful.

  • Blake Crouch
    Sep 10, 2016

    A mind-warping thriller that will make you question reality as you conceive of it. One of the most assured and haunting debuts I've read in recent memory.

  • Javi
    Oct 06, 2016

    A very impressive debut novel by Jay Hosking, with a mind-bending and compelling story that's not afraid to tackle science, science-fiction, philosophy and... I don't know, magical realism? To be honest, I'm not sure I fully understood what happened in the end...

    There are several buts, though. First of all, the characters felt flat and lifeless for the most part- the one character I was rooting for was actually Buddy the rat!!! Secondly, the non-linear approach to describing the events, constant

    A very impressive debut novel by Jay Hosking, with a mind-bending and compelling story that's not afraid to tackle science, science-fiction, philosophy and... I don't know, magical realism? To be honest, I'm not sure I fully understood what happened in the end...

    There are several buts, though. First of all, the characters felt flat and lifeless for the most part- the one character I was rooting for was actually Buddy the rat!!! Secondly, the non-linear approach to describing the events, constantly changing from 2008 to 2006 in no apparent logical order (that I could grasp anyway) made it very confusing to follow the plot. I wasn't sure most of the time *when* things were taking place and it was annoying, to be honest.

    The premise is very intriguing, the questions it poses are very interesting and exciting but the overall execution leaves quite a bit to be desired.

    It's not a long read so give it a shot, maybe you will be able to make more sense of what actually happened. Then come and tell me, please.

  • Nicola Mansfield
    Oct 17, 2016

    This is an intriguing read and yet I never really was too taken with it. It's a short book but a slow read even though it kept me interested. Really, nothing much happens and there is no discernable climax. A strange book filled with science and yet probably best classified as magical realism. The plot concerns time and a woman scientist who wants to discover how time can be experienced objectively rather than subjectively. In simplistic terms she wants to stop time so she can experience life on

    This is an intriguing read and yet I never really was too taken with it. It's a short book but a slow read even though it kept me interested. Really, nothing much happens and there is no discernable climax. A strange book filled with science and yet probably best classified as magical realism. The plot concerns time and a woman scientist who wants to discover how time can be experienced objectively rather than subjectively. In simplistic terms she wants to stop time so she can experience life on her own terms, to spend time alone without the constraints of real world time. The book covers a three-year time span in a non-linear manner with each chapter taking place during one of those three years. We follow her life and how she drags her boyfriend and brother into this experiment with her. I can't say much more but overall the book was easy to read but meandering and I never got involved or liked any of the characters making the read just ok for me.

  • Casey Frank
    Jan 06, 2017

    I'm attempting to keep this entirely spoiler free:

    This book will be a great read for fans of Dark Matter, or the recent Netflix show The OA as the story takes you on a similar "messing with science has dark repercussions" trip as the former, and then leaves you as perplexed and yet surprisingly satisfied as the latter.

    I will admit that for most of the book I spent a fair amount of time wondering what exactly was going on, and there were a few times that I wondered why I should care, but the non

    I'm attempting to keep this entirely spoiler free:

    This book will be a great read for fans of Dark Matter, or the recent Netflix show The OA as the story takes you on a similar "messing with science has dark repercussions" trip as the former, and then leaves you as perplexed and yet surprisingly satisfied as the latter.

    I will admit that for most of the book I spent a fair amount of time wondering what exactly was going on, and there were a few times that I wondered why I should care, but the non-linear plot that caused this confusion was exactly the device I needed to order to sink into the trouble with time that is at the center of the story.

    By the end I understood that while the real and speculative science in the story was interesting and important to the plot, it was more about how different characters could or would react to the circumstances provided to them when the concept of time becomes more malleable.

    There is an almost magical element to the story, but as it's pointed out, anything that surpasses the explanations of science can be seen as magic.

    Overall, I enjoyed the ride. Thank you, NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

  • Erik
    Feb 26, 2017

    Quite an impressive debut novel! What starts as a good story that jumps back and forth between three years in the narrator's life, takes a impressive jump into the surreal as the explanation for his sister's disappearance becomes apparent.

  • Jason Pettus
    Jan 24, 2017

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

    The promotional material for Jay Hosking's

    claims that the novel is "reminiscent of Mark Danielewski's

    ," but as typical with this kind of stuff, that's simply a lie; in fact the one and only thing the two books have in common is that they both feature a space that's

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

    The promotional material for Jay Hosking's

    claims that the novel is "reminiscent of Mark Danielewski's

    ," but as typical with this kind of stuff, that's simply a lie; in fact the one and only thing the two books have in common is that they both feature a space that's bigger on the inside than on the outside. Other than that, this book consists of not much more than a fairly pedestrian coming-of-age tale, plotted with the immaturity of a Young Adult novel and featuring dialogue that badly suffers from Joss Whedon Syndrome*, a book that hits all the notes you would expect from such a story (boy moves to Big City, boy makes new group of friends, boy gets into first serious romantic relationship, boy breaks up from first serious romantic relationship), only with a metafictional element holding the story spine together, in that it's the boy's older sister who convinces him to move there, and she and her boyfriend are both scientists who are working on some kind of shadowy project that supposedly supersedes the normal laws of space and time.

    That's led St. Martin's Press to unwisely market this as a science-fiction novel, or at least a literary novel with strongly science-fictional overtones (thus the

    comparison on the dust jacket); but actual SF fans like myself will be disappointed by

    , not only because the science part is dished out in such a poorly paced, haphazard way (smart readers can essentially glean everything they're trying to do in chapter 1, then the rest of the novel is a series of flashbacks where Hosking tries to slowly reveal the very information he fully showed in the first chapter), but because the eventual "science" that's revealed sounds literally like something a stoned undergraduate would come up with after a bullshit session in the dorm with their buddy**, then afterwards decide would make for a good subject off which to base an entire novel.

    That's a huge problem here, because there's nothing compelling left once you discount the disappointing concept at the center of the book; and when combined with the immature writing style that's clearly being presented as something for grown-ups, that makes for a book that's hard to recommend and kind of a slog to actually read. I'm tacking on a few extra points to its score today anyway, as an acknowledgement that teens and Whedon fans will undoubtedly like this more than I did; but make no mistake, despite what St. Martin's is trying to peddle here,

    this ain't.

    Out of 10:

    *Joss Whedon Syndrome: When dialogue supposedly meant for grown-ups is written in an overly twee and flippant style, which some people apparently like for some unfathomable reason, but for me is like fingernails down a chalkboard.

    **"Dude, you know how, like, time seems to stand still when you're waiting in line at the grocery store?

    " "Awww, duuuude." "And what if, like, you could control that time speed by putting six mirrors together directly across from each other in a cube, so that they're, like, all infinitely mirroring each other?" "Awww,

    " "And what if, like, what if you sat in the middle of that mirror cube, and like your entire past ceased to exist because of it, so then you could go back to your ex-girlfriend and undo all the dick moves that made her break up with you the first time?" "Stop, dude, stop!

    "

  • Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    Jan 28, 2017

    Three Years with the Rat by Jay Hosking is a highly recommended debut genre-bending novel about a young man looking for his sister.

    The unnamed narrator in Three Years with the Rat is called by various nicknames, Grace's little brother, Scruffy by a friend, and Danger by his new Toronto girlfriend, Nicole (or Trouble.) When our narrator, an underachiever with no real life goals, moves to Toronto where Grace and John, her boyfriend, live, he meets their friends and is included in their social circ

    Three Years with the Rat by Jay Hosking is a highly recommended debut genre-bending novel about a young man looking for his sister.

    The unnamed narrator in Three Years with the Rat is called by various nicknames, Grace's little brother, Scruffy by a friend, and Danger by his new Toronto girlfriend, Nicole (or Trouble.) When our narrator, an underachiever with no real life goals, moves to Toronto where Grace and John, her boyfriend, live, he meets their friends and is included in their social circle. Grace is graduate student in psychophysics. She and John are working on a project involving rats and "subjective time."

    When John and Grace's landlord calls and wants him to clean out their apartment because they are gone, our narrator discovers in their apartment a handmade wooden box big enough to crawl inside and lined with mirrors, Buddy the rat, a notebook written in code, and a note that says: This is the only way back for us. Now he must unravel what they did and how to get them back. He knows that somehow Buddy can disappear and travel back and forth between wherever space the box leads to and where our narrator lives.

    The narrative jumps back and forth in time over the three years in the title, 2006-2008, so readers will want to pay attention to what year they are in which is noted at the start of each chapter. That doesn't mean you will understand everything that is happening during that timeline, but eventually more and more information is revealed that will help you later. This shifting chronology makes the presentation feel fragmented, so you will have to overcome this as you are reading.

    The novel itself has elements of science fiction, a mystery, suspense/horror, and magic realism. It is definitely not straight science fiction. The writing is good. Characters aren't as well developed as I prefer so I was never fully invested in what happens to them, and the dialogue is awkward. While the narrator seeks answers about where his sister and John went, he is also seeking answers about what happened with his relationship with Nicole, and he's trying to care for Buddy.

    All this seems like I might rate Three Years with the Rat lower, but I was intrigued by the idea and was able to overlook some elements of the presentation to get to the end of the story. It's not fully resolved, but enough for closure. Additionally, I was eager to read what happened next and thought about Three Years with the Rat after I was finished with the novel. 3.5 rounded up.

    Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

  • Andrew Barnes
    Feb 03, 2017

    When Blake Crouch calls your work "mind-warping" you are probably doing something right. A neuroscience P.h.D (this really pays off with his attention to detail and love of lab rats), Jay Hosking's fiction debut finds a college drop out, his scientist sister, and their doomed romantic partners, in an increasingly complex Toronto. For fans of: "hey wait what?" Sibling strife, and tenacious, unnamed , largely incompetent protagonists.

    ---

    Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for free ebook!in exchange

    When Blake Crouch calls your work "mind-warping" you are probably doing something right. A neuroscience P.h.D (this really pays off with his attention to detail and love of lab rats), Jay Hosking's fiction debut finds a college drop out, his scientist sister, and their doomed romantic partners, in an increasingly complex Toronto. For fans of: "hey wait what?" Sibling strife, and tenacious, unnamed , largely incompetent protagonists.

    ---

    Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for free ebook!in exchange for honest opinion.

  • Maryam
    Feb 02, 2017

    This is what I call a delicious read.

    A Sci mystery, twists, conflicts and self-arguments. This book is full of them.

    Story is about a young brother who comes back to the city after some years and start hanging out with his sister, her boyfriend and their friends. His sister goes missing one day and after a year the boyfriend goes missing too. To try to search and find these two the young brother steps in the crazy path those two already passed through.

    Never in the story have learn about the youn

    This is what I call a delicious read.

    A Sci mystery, twists, conflicts and self-arguments. This book is full of them.

    Story is about a young brother who comes back to the city after some years and start hanging out with his sister, her boyfriend and their friends. His sister goes missing one day and after a year the boyfriend goes missing too. To try to search and find these two the young brother steps in the crazy path those two already passed through.

    Never in the story have learn about the young brother name despite the fact that he is the main character. He’s always called by names given to him by others Danger,Little Brother,Scruffy and it seems that actually he is being shaped by others. Always looking up to his sister he is confused when she disappears. As he proceed in solving the mystery of their research and disappearance he finds himself too.

    Totally recommended if you enjoy mental games.